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Mr. Blackhawk Pilot


  • 690/710 GMAT (recent practice tests)3.75 GPAUndergraduate degree in business management, with an emphasis in finance, from Brigham Young University

    Work experience as a Company Commander of 88 soldiers and more than $50 million of equipment (and will deploy soon); Blackhawk pilot and captain in the U.S. Army, with one earlier combat deployment to Afghanistan as a flight platoon leader

    Extracurricular involvement in church service; Boy Scouts scoutmaster and cubmaster; compete in triathlons; served for two years in Brazil as LDS Missionary (speak Portuguese fluently)

    Goal: Interested in a lot of things, but perhaps consulting or finance

    30-years-old male, married with three young children (will enter B-School at 32 based on active duty commitment after flight school)

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20% to 30%

MIT: 30%

Wharton: 30%

Northwestern: 30% to 40%

Duke: 40%

Texas: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Your age is not a problem. There are 32-year olds at Harvard Business School and in many other elite MBA programs. The classic explanation for older kids (though you are hardly a kid) is pilots, docs and other military. Schools realize that being a pilot requires extra years in service because of the intense training and certification involved. I don’t have stats, but man, if the ‘average’ age at HBS is 27, that means there are lots of peeps beyond that, since my guess is there are not many kids younger than 23. So to get to an average of 27 means there is plenty of room for you.

Moving right along, as noted many times, B-schools have a hard time judging the ‘quality’ of military careers, but the two things they do understand is pilot and combat. You got both. Your stats are solid and your other miscellaneous things are perky, too.

Yup, a better GMAT would not hurt, but this is a solid story. I think you got a real shot at HBS, and other places go for this with serviceable execution of your applications. Say you want to be a consultant. That is a clear goal that will endear you to every admissions officier because they know there are plenty of those jobs on campus. You cannot go wrong with that and McKinsey, Bain and BCG loves guys like you.

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